Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No.1003 – Identity Crisis by 1ac or 44ac

Posted by Mister Sting on February 11th, 2012

Mister Sting.

This was magnificent. A great theme, well executed. Many thanks to… well, to whom, exactly?

There seems to be a fair amount going on – unclued entries, additional words and subsidiary indications, and highlighting to be done.

There where a number of clues (13dn, 40dn) with fairly straightforward subsidiary indications which, after a check in Chamber’s that ‘Tiu’ and ‘reh’ were anything more than nonsense, began the population of the grid. Once one had a few letters in the top and/or bottom row, a judicious rereading of the preamble (the annoyed editor has to refer to the setter as 1ac or 44ac because he doesn’t know his name) allowed an intelligent guess to be made as to the unclued entries. Obviously, having found and solved one or more subsidiary indication made identifying the others easier. The additional words did not leap out at you, perhaps because they could all have served as anagram indicators.

I’ve highlighted the additional subsidiary indications in my explanation below. I imagine that it was by means of these, rather than the final highlighting that most solvers discovered the identity of the setter. Knowing whom you were looking for did help the search. The single extraneous words were: irate (from 36dn), fallible (from 21ac), overrash (from 37ac), ramshackle (from 17dn). Apart from irate, these were not entered in a straightforward ‘word search’ style, but formed the letters of the setter’s name, as shown below.


So now, at last, we say: Thank you, Ifor!

Here‘s another piece of identity-related greatness.

I do have a pair of quibbles (don’t worry – they’re house-trained). They are insignificant, but I mention them for completeness sake. It’s quite possible I’ve gone wrong somewhere (this is where your clarification is particularly appreciated, dear reader). In 14ac, I’m not sure where the final ‘a’ comes from (the ‘one’ seems to be used up in the additional subsidiary indication), and I’m not sure that 39ac works as a semi- &lit, if indeed it’s intended to. At any rate, these are not noticeable flaws on an edifice of [insert overblown purple phrase]. Yes, folks, this one I particularly liked.


I’ve just read that The Magpie is in danger of extinction. If you’re reading this, then you most likely are a fan of its style of puzzles. Do consider subscribing.


(xxx) = definition
{xxx} = (anagram/homophone/container/etc.) indicator
XXX* = anagram
< = reversal
xxx = unused letter(s)
Idlers=redundant word

Please post a comment if the explanations are not clear.

IFOR subsidiary indications

Provided ore mostly IF (provided) + ORe [mostly]
in Californian calIFORnian [in]
Yes, in spite of I (yes) + FOR (in spite of)
One in favour of I (one) + FOR (in favour of)
Following uncertainty troops IF (uncertainty) + OR (troops)
in start of further operational research I (in) + F [start of Further] + OR (Operational Research)
institute adapted to I (institute) + FOR (adapted to)
taxmen holding folio ins. [holding] of FO (folio) in IR (taxmen)
current following logic circuit I (current) + F (following) + OR (logic circuit)
whenever men IF (whenever) + OR (men)
turning in profits <[turning]pROFIts [in]
ego not withstanding I (ego) + FOR (notwithstanding)


1 WHATSHISNAME See preamble (12)
10 SATINET Material point located externally (7) material: ins. [externally] of TINE (point) in SAT (located)
11 BLEW Provided ore mostly exploded below ground nothing’s lost (4) exploded: removal [lost] of O (nothing) from BELOW* [ground]
12 NUTRIA Space in Californian water-filled valley for aquatic mammal (6) aquatic mammal: NUT (space) + RIA (water-filled valley)
13 TRIUNE Three in one reunited somehow? Yes, in spite of last two disappearing (6) three in one:REUNITed* [somehow; last two disappearing]
14 ELIA One in favour of priest before essayist (4) essayist [‘Essays of Elia’ was written by Charles Lamb]: ELI (priest) + A (before)
15 DIALLER Caller relocated, returning with a second line installed (7) caller: ins. of L (line) in <[returning]RELAID (relocated)
18 TRAUMA Wound armature (first group of six turns) (6) wound: ARMATUre* [first group of six; turns]
19 ROUÉ Change one’s mind about, old libertine (4) libertine: ins. [about] of O (old) in RUE (change one’s mind)
21 GAFFER Fallible old man’s better perhaps (6) double definition: old man/better, perhaps
24 ÉLAN Lean running style (4) style: LEAN* [running]
25 PEAS Topped heaps supply small pieces of coal (4) small pieces of coal: hEAPS* [topped; supply]
27 RAJA Following uncertainty troops nearly closed round king (4) kind: <[round]AJAR (nearly closed)
28 DIODON Class of swimmers I’d back to do no wrong (6) class of swimmers: <[back]ID DONO* [wrong]
29 ALAP Section of Indian music in the style of piano (4) section of Indian music: À LA (in the style of) + P (piano)
32 HONEST Just a house a place of retreat (6) just: HO (house) + NEST (place of retreat) 
35 LENSMAN He films former sweetheart, concealing negatives heartlessly (7) he films: ins. [concealing] of NS [NegativeS heartlessly] in LEMAN (obs. [former] sweetheart)
37 KENO Thousand to one overrash backing for gambling game (4) gambling game: K (thousand) + <[backing]ONE
39 ORDAIN Priest’s beginning to be positive in pain (6) priest: PAIN, with ORD (beginning) replacing P (positive)
41 TAILOR Adapt to fit, or train beforehand (6) adapt to fit: TAIL (train) + OR
42 AERY Eagle’s first to nest in any local place such as this (4) &lit: ins. [in] of E [Eagle’s first] in ARY (any local)
43 CURRENT Present scoundrel with opening in start of further operational research (7) present: CUR (scoundrel) + RENT (with opening)
44 THINGUMMYBOB See preamble (12)
2 HAUL Gain clear space, it used to be said (4) gain: homonym [be said] of HALL (clear space (obs.)[it used to be])
3 ATTIC Refined institute adapted to accommodation under the leads (5) double definition: refined/accomodation under the leads
4 SNIP Small person pitches up (4) small person: <[up]PINS (pitches)
5 HEADAGE Wage pressure replacing taxmen holding folio with subsidy for farmers (7) subsidy for farmers: replacement of W (with) with HEAD (pressure) in WAGE
6 STRAMASH Disturbance in Glasgow street as arm broken head for hospital (8) disturbance in Glasgow: ST (street) + ASARM* [broken] + H [head for Hospital]
7 ALULA Two adults having a short period of calm inside ‘The Feathers’ (5) inside the feathers: ins. [having inside] of LUL (a short period of calm) in AA (two adults)
8 MEN Pillars mark centre of avenue (3) pillars: M (mark) + avENue [centre]
9 EWERS Pitchers were cracked by opening of sarcophagus (5) pitchers: WERE* [cracked] + S [opening of Sarcophagus]
10 SNEERED Become angry about then finally expressed contempt (7) expressed contempt: ins. [about] of N [theN finally] in SEE RED (become angry)
13 TIU Tip priest off to universal god of the English (3) god of the English: TIp [priest off] + U (universal)
16 EVEJAR Local bird’s first partner to quarrel (6) local bird: EVE (first partner) + JAR (quarrel)
17 SOLIVE Ramshackle joist in this condition’s to escape destruction (6) joist: SO (in this condition) + LIVE (escape destruction)
18 TEND Mind to be directed to purpose (4) mind: T (to) + END (purpose)
20 SPOOMING Poet’s foaming – amateur leaving shampoo to mix some time ago (8) : removal [leaving] of HAM (amateur) from SHAMPOO + MING (mix obs. [some time ago])
22 FRAT Father thanks returning brotherhood briefly (4) brotherhood briefly: FR (father) + <[returning]TA (thanks)
23 RAPPORT Return of standard – current following logic circuit socket connection (7) connection: <[return]PAR (standard) + PORT (socket)
26 AMENTUM Doctor meant to sound hesitant? It depends, naturally (7) it depends, naturally: MEANT* [doctor] + UM (to sound hesitant)
30 BLOAT Club shuts up whenever men look drunk (5) drunk: ins. [shuts up] of LO (look) in BAT (club)
31 INDRI Animal skin, dried hides (5) animal: skINDRIed [hides]
33 NAN Bread vans turning in profits in newly affluent neighbourhood (3) bread: [vans in] Newly Affluent Neighbourhood
34 CELEB Famous person in film to be upset, ego not withstanding (5) famous person: CEL (film) + <[upset]BE
36 MARM Irate gentlemen restraining a right little madam (4) madam: ins. [restraining] of A + R (right little) in MM (gentlemen)
39 NO-NO Two legs to reverse failure (4, hyphenated) : 2x <[to reverse]ON (leg)
40 REH Crust of residue with hard surface deposit in India (3) surface deposit in India: ResiduE [crust] + H (hard)

7 Responses to “Enigmatic Variations No.1003 – Identity Crisis by 1ac or 44ac”

  1. Dave Hennings says:

    A good blog, Mr S, and a fine offering from Ifor. He is a relatively new setter whose puzzles I have found inventive and enjoyable.

    I think I can clear up your doubts about two clues. In 14ac, the final A is the abbreviation for ante (L), before. 39ac, which took me some time to work out, isn’t an &lit if you just take ‘priest’ as a verb.

  2. mc_rapper67 says:

    Nice work, Mister Sting, and an enjoyable puzzle from Ifor. It took me a while, but was particularly satisfying when I finally found RAMSHACKLE and OVERRASH in the ‘wordsearch’.

    I think in 39A ‘Priest’ is used as a verb: to ‘priest’ someone can be to ordain them?

    In 14A, the A of ELIA is ‘before’ – from Chambers: ‘a’ can be ‘ante’, Latin for before?

  3. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the blog, Mister Sting.

    For 14ac, I think you need A=ante=before.

    For 39ac, according to Chambers ‘priest’ can mean ‘to ordain as priest’.

  4. Tony says:

    Thanks, Mr S. I don’t see how “I” can mean “yes” in the third definition of Ifor. I know it sounds the same as “aye” but there’s no indicator of a pun in the clue, is there?

  5. Mister Sting says:

    Thanks, commenters all. I am happy to have these cleared up.

    Tony: Chambers has ‘I’ as a variant of ‘aye’. Admittedly, it’s not one you’re likely to find outside of Chambers.

  6. Ernie says:

    Thanks for your blog, Mr Sting

    I didn’t have 2D as a double definition.

    Rather as hall (clear space) being a homophone of haul and archaic (it used to be said).

  7. Mister Sting says:

    Thanks to Ernie (you’re quite right), and sorry it took rather a long time to fix these in the blog proper.

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